Self-defense training considers that many women know their assailants

Janice Dobson-Guzik demonstrates defensive move at RAD training.(Janice Dobson-Guzik )

Sarah Watson
News Reporter

The first rule of RAD self-defence training? Don’t talk about RAD self-defence training.

“Don’t share it,” said Jasjeet Bal, the Finance and Administrative Manager of Public Safety at Humber College. “We always tell our students or participants, the number one rule is do not share what you just learned outside, and especially do not show it to your significant other, your partner.”

According to Statistics Canada, the perpetrator is known to the victim in 82 per cent of sexual assault cases. This is the reason Bal gives for the secrecy of the self-defence training that returns to Humber today, and for why the classes are women-only.

RAD stands for Rape Aggression Defense. The organization has been running self-defence training programs for women since 1989, and now has an international network of over 11,000 instructors, with over 900,000 trained participants.

The RAD manual, Basic Physical Defense For Women, is given to each participant. Despite Bal’s assertion that they are aware of the sexual assault statistics, the manual still focuses primarily on incidents involving strangers.

Suggested in manual that ‘Risk Reduction Strategies’ involve investing in good outdoor lighting to “deter crime greatly,” and to get thick drapes to “prevent silhouetting.” This advice does not work for preventing assault from someone you know, a friend, family member, or acquaintance that would already be inside your home.

Bal is a trained RAD instructor. She explained that they do train for situations where the assailant is someone you know and you could be simply lying down, dozing, entirely unaware.

Techniques are taught for a scenario, “when you get home, if someone comes into your house, your partner, or something happens, and in that situation you’re sleeping, or you don’t know an attack’s going to happen,” said Bal. “We think about what’s going on in society, and we try to cater to that.”

Humber usually offers the RAD training a few times a year to staff and students who identify as female. Bal said that a lot of staff choose to participate, especially in the summer when they have more time available.

Janice Dobson-Guzik, the Dual Credit Program Officer at Humber, participated in the RAD training in May 2016.

“You know, that would almost be part two to the training.” said Dobson-Guzik when asked if the training can be applied to people participants know.

The Rape Aggression Defence manual states, “Risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition and risk avoidance are 90% of self-defense education!” It says that attacks are avoidable if women “remove the foundation of opportunity.”

Bal said they are working on bringing RAD for men to Humber in the future, which is “verbal, it is not physical in nature.”

According to the RAD website, RAD for men will have participants “consider how they can be part of reducing aggression and violence,” but does not directly mention consent education.

Dobson-Guzik said she recommends the RAD training. She said she decided to participate, “just to be aware and to learn some techniques so that I’m not the victim, and to provide confidence.”

Bal also said that confidence is one of the key things that the training provides.

“For me personally, I feel like when I did the RAD and became an instructor, I felt more confident,” said Bal. “I think for today, girls need to feel more confident in walking around in their skin.

“I just think it builds confidence and it makes you more aware of your surroundings, makes you know of what’s safe and what’s not safe, and always following that gut instinct.”

The RAD self-defence training will take place on North campus in A227 from 2 to 8 p.m. today. The previous session that was scheduled for North campus in February was canceled after the norovirus outbreak.

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